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COLUMN: Resolutions for the New Year

OUTDOOR WORLD by Don MacLean

At this time of year, as we look forward to a bright new 2018, I always like to reflect on the past year and make some resolutions for the new one.

This year I thought of a few resolutions we, as people who enjoy the outdoors, could consider for the upcoming year. At the top of my list, as always, is the hope to spend more time outside. Every year I promise myself I will spend more time in the woods and on the water. However, it is often a balancing act to find the time between family, work and the other pressures we face every day.

People are working harder than ever and finding a few hours, let alone a full weekend, is a struggle but you can usually find the time. Sometimes it means not sitting down in front of the television but instead heading out to a local lake or stream after trout, or for a walk in the woods. The benefits of a few hours spent outside in quiet reflection are well worth it. The fish you catch will be a bonus.

Make it a point to support your local outdoor organizations this year. They serve as an organized voice to help conserve and protect our wildlife resources. Without a clean environment, and healthy habitat, there will be no wildlife. Pictou County is fortunate in having two great organizations, the Pictou County Rivers Association and West Pictou Wildlife, which do a lot to improve habitat and always welcome new members.

Or, take up another aspect of the sport. If you have never fished in saltwater give it a try this year. We are well known as Canada's Ocean Playground and there is a wealth of fishing opportunities out there, from casting for mackerel off almost any wharf to fishing for striped bass. Or, if you have never ice fished then give it a try this winter. Local anglers now have winter seasons for rainbow and brook trout as well as perch and chain pickerel and don't forget the popular smelt.

If you fly fish, but don’t tie your own flies this is the year to give it a try. American angling writer Dave Whitlock claims that fly tying is the other half of fly fishing. If you don't keep an outdoor journal 2018 is a good time to begin one. It will provide memories of great days in the woods and on the water as well as valuable information on when the fish were biting.

Another resolution I hope to keep this year is to take someone outdoors who is new to hunting or fishing, or may not get a chance to get out anymore. This may be a neighbour who doesn't fish, or a senior who doesn’t find it that easy to get out to their favourite lake anymore. You will also benefit from some great stories as well as some fishing tips. Or take a young angler fishing. They are the future of our sport.

So, with the New Year almost here, full of hope and promise, good luck with your resolutions. I think I'll go fishing.

Happy New Year.

Don MacLean is an outdoor writer and biologist who lives in Pictou County.

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